A SOUTH Tyneside ten-pin bowling star is celebrating his striking success after making medal-winning history in Hong Kong.
Matthew Clayton racked up an impressive score in the World Youth Bowling Championships to help his four-strong boys’ team take home a bronze medal.
The podium place was England’s first in the 13-year history of the event, which saw 46 nations jet off to the Far East in search of glory.
Matthew returned to his home in Foxhomes, Jarrow, on Sunday night and is already back at work as a technician at MFA Bowling in Newcastle.
The 21-year-old has been bowling for over a decade but admits he was overwhelmed by his major championship debut.
He said: “We knew we had a strong team. We didn’t go in thinking we would win a medal, but we knew we were in with a chance if we bowled well.
“It is the first time that England has won a medal in the team event.
“We all get on really well and have bowled together for a long time.
“It was close to the end. We had teams playing on the left and the right of us in with a chance.
“It was my first championships, and it was all quite overwhelming.”
Matthew is hoping to use the medal win as a launchpad for a full-time ten-pin bowling career.
He added: “It is a lot of hard work, but you can make a living on the circuit.
“There are tours in America, Europe and in Asia, where ten-pin bowling is a national sport.”
Matthew was in Hong Kong with his England team-mates – three other men and four girls – for 11 days.
He returned home jet-lagged but happy with his trip overseas.
He added: “I got back at 5am on Sunday, but then it was another five-hour drive home from the airport in London.
“My grandparents had just got back from a cruise and came and picked me up.
“All of the family are really happy for me.”
Matthew’s bowling exploits have already seen him nominated for the prize for sporting excellence in the South Tyneside Pride Awards earlier this year.